What if all the denizens of Twitter, Meetup, LinkedIn, Craigslist, instagram, Quora, Youtube, and Match were warm-hearted, trustworthy, unselfconscious, intrinsically motivated, self-aware, unflappable, bright, and funny?
“I continue to love what you’re doing. Great ideas.”
“The best lunch date of my life. We were there for two and a half hours, but could easily have stayed for five.”
Four experiences convinced me to spin up a new social network, fill it with folks who possess those eight traits, and find out.
Thanksgiving at Aunt Mickey’s
My mom stuffed our New Jersey apartment with people with those eight traits (I call them Sugarmaples), every Thanksgiving, for thirty-five years.
Thanksgiving at Aunt Mickey’s taught me that people this wonderful really exist.
Cornell Adult University
All four summers during high school, my mom, sister and I attended Cornell Adult University in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. Many of the hundreds of people there were just like the folks at Thanksgiving.
Cornell Adult University taught me that Sugarmaples are everywhere and they love connecting.
Connecting Sugarmaples for a living
For the last five years, I’ve made my living introducing CEOs to outside experts who can help them. Three years ago, I decided to restrict all my introductions to Sugarmaple CEOs and Sugarmaple experts only. Every single introduction since has been a success.
Connecting Sugarmaples for a living taught me that two Sugarmaples who meet always hit it off.
Two years ago, I put on a small conference for twenty Sugarmaples (in England, where almost half of those who joined us were from) called Meddle. Nobody, myself included, had any idea what we were in for.
“If an eagle and a tiger had a human baby that was then raised by ninjas, it would be Ted.”
“Ted is extraordinary at what he does, and he’s a man of his word.”
“It was a wonderful time and a really great meal.”
“I had a very enjoyable lunch with Seth [Godin] yesterday — a smart and likable guy. There are degrees of kindredness (as well as of heresy). But we do seem to share a fair amount. Thanks for matching us.”
“It was such a great experience that I’m wracking my brain for other problems in my business that Ted could solve with a thoughtful connection.”
“I wanted to thank you again for the past weekend’s amazing fun and incredible opportunity to have an exchange of notions with Anil [Dash]. I feel even richer for the ideas & starting-places that have come out of the whole thing!”
“You know how it seems like everyone has a personal trainer, now? I believe Ted is the progenitor of a new kind of empathy-based collective problem solving that everyone will take for granted some day.”
“Sugarmaples is a collection of passionate, ambitious, big-hearted visionaries, and Ted is the Master Cultivator.”
“I have to say, you are very good at what you do. The timing was perfect and with one introduction you’ve enabled a ton of fruitful connections (which in the long run, might actually help save lives) in the span of a few days.”
Frequently asked questions.
Can I join?
Almost all of the people I invite to join are people I find through research or who are introduced to me by existing members. But I’m always open to suitors! You can email me at ted [at] ahsugarmaples.com. Include a link to a video or two of you talking – in conversation, on stage, or even something quick that you record on your smart phone. Image quality doesn’t matter.
I look at every video that’s sent to me and will contact you back if I’m ready to extend an invite.
What does membership cost?
Nothing right now. Down the road, I’ll start charging a monthly fee. Anyone who becomes a member before the fee is instituted will be grandfathered in and never have to pay a cent.
Why do you call the project 'Sugarmaples'?
It’s an image that came to me when I was thinking about these sweet but strong folks. It’s also what I call the folks themselves.
How do you know if someone's a Sugarmaple?
Most of the time I don’t know. If I’m even the slightest bit unsure, I feel obligated, on behalf of the current members of the community, to be conservative. Here’s my heuristic: If I know ten randomly-selected members of the community would unanimously give a candidate for membership a big thumbs up, then that person is a Sugarmaple, and they’re in.
Is this how you make a living?
No. By day, I’m a professional connector. I help CEOs find outside experts that can help their companies succeed. You can find out more at the company site, Authority Authority.
Can I suggest someone?
Absolutely. I’d love that. Email me at ted [at] ahsugarmaples.com.
Who did the trees illustration?
Who made the Meddle video?
Who did the music for the video?
What online platform do you use?
Will you share or sell my data?
Is this advertising-supported?
No. There’s no advertising of any kind.
Who designed the Meddle logo?
I’m married to Allison, an architect. We have a ridiculous second-grader, Oscar, and an enormous Newfoundland, Tatou, who’s famous on the Internet. I’m a Cornell alum and software industry (Sony / IBM / Roguewave / CQG) refugee. My other passion project is Fall: In Love with Music, a new kind of venue I’m developing for Denver.